3 Things That Make a Good Gun Range

Leslye Leslie // May 3

What makes a good gun range? To be honest, any chance to shoot safely makes me happy. On the flip side, there are some tremendous advantages to finding a 2A Heaven-on-Earth type of place.  Here's what I think make a gun range a good place to practice.

What makes a Good Gun Range?

The first is safety. 

Never sacrifice the absolute fact that you know where your bullet is going and that there is a solid and unwavering backstop downrange.  This is simple at an actual gun range because there are designated berms that are a minimum height and thickness to ensure downrange safety.  If you shoot on public land or on some private property, you must show due diligence by driving down and checking the end of the area that you plan to post up a target to shoot at. 

Just a few short years ago there was a horrible tragedy in Utah.  A family was having a day out in the mountains and they were doing some rifle sighting on a new gun.  They were using a target and a seemingly thick patch of woods as the backstop.  One shot turned into terror because somehow, someway the bullet made it through the entire patch of trees and struck a teenage boy out for a drive in a Jeep with his family.  He was killed immediately.  They had no idea that the mountain road curved back behind the patch of trees that they were shooting into as a backstop. The family that was out shooting, just like the family that lost a child, has to deal with this memory every day. 

You owe it to yourself and EVERY person that could be in your bullet's path to be certain of your backstop.  I prefer to shoot into the mountainside.  I know without a shadow of a doubt that nothing is in between the mountain and my muzzle.

Miss Pursuit Gun Range
The was a piece of private land set up with steel plates.  We were sighting in rifle scopes and making shots out to 1430 yards!

The second thing I look for is a target to make it fun. 

I am a huge fan of steel plates because I love to make them sing!  A formal range often has a playground of different target options and steel designs to tickle your accuracy fancy.  My favorite is a plate rack followed shortly by a Texas star.  A dueling tree is always a riot.  My least favorite is the Polish Plate rack.  Look that up if you haven’t ever shot one.  It is a doozy! 

Miss Pursuit Gun Range
Sometimes you gotta use a porch railing to help you lean out and get the target without shooting the penalty target! 

The next thing that I look for is the opportunity to use a wide variety of guns.  If you go to a formal gun range, you must check first about the calibers they restrict each firing area to.  Some shooting bays or lines may only allow .22 to pistol calibers.  You might have to switch to another firing line and range bay if you want to pull out your hunting rifle and work with that.  Make sure that you have proper cases for your guns and talk with the Range Officers to share what your plans are and needs may be.  They can often help facilitate your ability to set up and make your targets ready.

Read More: Protecting Your Fire Arms from Theft

My favorite ranges

I live 2 miles from the Wasatch Shooters Range in Utah and I live 30 minutes from the Lee Kay group range called the Salt Lake Practical Shooting Association.  There are 6 bays where we set up obstacle-style courses where you have to run the course and shoot at targets that may require you to lean around a barrel or wall, and even some targets that move or disappear once activated.  These two ranges are hard to beat.

Each has an entire HUGE locked playroom full of steel, paper targets, walls, barrels, and ported window walls that you can train and shoot with.  It truly makes my heart SING! 

If I am just going out to the desert or the edge of the mountain range, then I usually post up a standing steel plate.  I know that I can draw from a holster at either, whereas many ranges will not allow you to draw from a holster and shoot.  Surely they will not allow you to build a course and run around the bay, unless it is designed for that and you have a Range Officer with you.

Miss Pursuit Gun Range
USPSA match at SLPSA.  Running to the next section of targets while keeping my muzzle downrange and my finger OFF the trigger.

Either way, do a little research and find a place that is safe and secure.  Then get out, line up your sights, and FIRE!

Bonus tip: Use Desert Tech Industries to find a gun range in your area!

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About the Author

Leslye Leslie

Leslye has always been a Southern woman, but learned to love shooting, hunting, and fishing after a cancer diagnosis. She now loves both rifle and archery hunting for big game, waterfowl and pheasant hunting, and fishing the amazing waters of Utah with her husband and two daughters. Leslye is an Occupational Therapist and Certified Hand Therapist with the University of Utah hospitals. She enjoys shooting competitions with her custom CK Arms pistol, and teaching others how to shoot makes her happy! Leslye is a Krytpek Ladies Legion member as well. She loves camping, backpacking, hiking, trail running, and the barbell rack at the gym is her favorite bar. She has taken her passion for hunting to a new level in 2019 by becoming a Hunters Education Instructor with the Department of Wildlife Resources for the State of Utah.